Removal proceedings generally start in one of two ways. First, you might get arrested by immigration authorities as a result of a workplace or other raid. Second, if you've been seeking legal status in the U.S. that was then denied, you will receive a Notice to Appear (NTA).
NTA is the formal document that sets forth charges against you for deportation. Your NTA will describe your current immigration status, what allegations you are facing, and the charges of removability against you under relevant immigration laws. Therefore, if you receive an NTA from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (USCIS), you must appear in an immigration court at the designated date, time, and location. If you fail to appear in immigration court as directed, the immigration judge most likely will order that you be deported.
Receiving a NTA does not guarantee that you will be deported. You have rights as an immigrant charged with deportation that an experienced immigration attorney can help you exercise and protect. You should seek clarification from a lawyer about any potential defenses that you may have. You also should ensure that your name and address are correct on the NTA so that you will receive correspondence from USCIS about your deportation case in a timely fashion.
When you receive an NTA, you must attend the scheduled hearing at an immigration court, known as a Master Calendar Hearing. At this hearing, the immigration judge will explain your rights and update your contact information. You also will have to either agree to the charges listed in the NTA, or deny them. Denying the charges is always advisable, particularly if you have not yet spoken with an attorney.
If you choose to agree to the charges, you only will be able to avoid deportation if you can offer a defense proving that you should not be deported despite the charges against you. If you choose to deny the charges, your case will be scheduled for a Contested Merits Hearing. Your objective there will be to prove to the court that the charges listed in the NTA are invalid or incorrect and that you are not legally subject to removal.
A negative decision made at the Merits Hearing can be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Expect to wait months or years for a decision. A person might be held in custody during this time if considered a flight risk. If the BIA denies your appeal, you can appeal its decision to the local federal circuit court of appeals, which can also take several years. While an immigrant can appeal a negative decision of the federal circuit court of appeals, it is rarely done. Such appeals are heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, which takes very few immigration cases.
As an experienced litigator, Attorney Khristina Siletskaya knows how to gather the facts that are relevant to your case, assess your options, and determine whether you have any legal defenses that could allow you to avoid deportation and remain in the U.S. Contact her to learn how she may be able to help you and your family through this difficult situation.
Khristina Siletskaya has extensive experience representing her clients’ interest in Charlotte, Atlanta and Stewart Immigration Courts. To schedule your consultation today call (843) 986-4684.